Sure, Sydney’s restaurants offer great food — much of it locally sourced, with ingredients creatively paired and beautifully presented. But what they’re also known for are their venue designs.
Many Sydney restaurants feature custom-made artwork and furniture pieces, architecturally stunning spaces, and a seamless blend of indoors and outdoors. These are the spots you’d go to for a long lunch where you plan on taking loads of photos or a dinner that sees you dressing up a little, maybe even to celebrate a special occasion.
From an indoor-outdoor garden restaurant dripping in greenery to another that’ll transport you to the Amalfi Coast with yellow walls and red and white striped cushions, these are the Sydney venues we think are the most aesthetically pleasing.
Pinky Ji, Sydney CBD
Pinky Ji prides itself on being an “inauthentic” Indian restaurant. Its décor is best described as flamboyant, with flower garlands strung from the ceiling, neon lighting and plush red velvet furniture. Framed photos of Bollywood stars line the walls, and hand-painted, colourful tableware litter the tables.
RAFI, North Sydney
The owners of 300-seating RAFI told architectural design studio Luchetti Krelle they wanted a layered design that ignited child-like wonder, according to its site. The result is a maximalist mash-up of materials and pigment pairings that complement the North Sydney restaurant’s Mediterranean menu. Think colourful, abstract art on the walls, big hanging paper lampshades and blue banquet seats.
The Grounds of Alexandria
The Grounds of Alexandria is easily one of Sydney’s most Instagrammed locations. As its name suggests, it’s a sprawling estate, encompassing not just its indoor Grounds Café or under-cover restaurant, The Potting Shed, but also a Garden Bar and courtyard area, which is often decorated in an installation themed to the season.
The Butler, Potts Point
The Butler by hospitality group Applejack, also behind RAFI, is well-known in Sydney for its unexpected city skyline views. Until January 2024, upstairs Juanita’s Bar is now a pink and green pop-up bar called Please & Thank You. The cosy space features a mural by local artist Vynka Hallam that’s inspired by her personal travels, experiences and memories.
Botanica Vaucluse, Vaucluse
Botanica Vaucluse brings the outdoors in with dripping greenery, plant-print wallpaper, and glass doors that can be opened on sunny days or balmy evenings. The restaurant’s pink suede chairs really pop against the rest of the space’s greens and creams. A handmade metal mirror hangs on one of the walls, making the dining room look even bigger.
St Siandra, Mosman
Lunching at St Siandra in Mosman with views of the waves lapping steps from your table, you’ll truly feel like you’re in Italy. The venue’s interior walls are yellow and decorated with eclectic art pieces. Olive trees dot the room and red and white striped cushions rest on white wired chairs.
Sean’s Panorama, North Bondi
Sean’s Panorama at the top end of Bondi’s main drag Campbell Parade feels like you’re dining at a friend’s house. It’s comprised of a 45-seat restaurant and a private dining room that can seat up to 12. Expect lamp shades made from seashells, colourful tiles, and paintings covering most of the wall space like Tetris. A chalkboard on one wall displays the daily menu.
The Boathouse Rose Bay, Rose Bay
Nautical is the theme at The Boathouse Rose Bay. The waterside venue uses a blue and white colour scheme, with rattan accents and plenty of tropical greenery and florals. All this against a backdrop of sparkling shallow water. If you like what you see décor-wise, you can shop Boathouse-inspired homewares online after.
Iberica is a tapas and wine bar, inspired by the Balearic Islands. It’s the second venue by Joaquin Saez who’s also behind Greek meze bar Ikaria Bondi. Stepping into the two-storey venue on Bondi Road, you’ll feel transported to a coastal Spanish village with earthy tones and ceramic pieces like detailed vases, funky planters and rustic tableware.